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Two San Ramon Valley residents battling for 15th Assembly seat

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Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 10:00 pm

Two longtime San Ramon Valley residents are battling it out for the right to represent Galt, Thornton and Elk Grove in the 15th Assembly District.

Joan Buchanan

San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson and school board member Joan Buchanan of Alamo hope to replace Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, who is leaving the Legislature due to term limits.

Both candidates have worked to become familiar with areas in the district east of Altamont Pass.

Abram Wilson

Wilson, a Republican, said he has visited the Galt-Thornton-Elk Grove area a few times. Buchanan, a Democrat, estimates that she has visited the Central Valley portion of the district 50 to 60 times and driven more than 42,000 miles during the past 15 months to get acquainted with the district.

Both say that residents in all communities share common concerns such as quality of life, public safety and education. Additionally, the Central Valley faces water and agricultural issues, Wilson said.

Wilson, 62, was elected to the San Ramon City Council in 1999, appointed mayor in 2002 and became the city's first elected mayor in 2003. He was unopposed in his 2005 and 2007 mayoral re-election campaigns. Wilson held executive positions at Wells Fargo and Bank of America before his retirement.

Buchanan, 56, worked at Delta Dental for nine years before leaving in 1983 to raise her children. She has been a trustee with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District since 1990.

Both candidates pledge to work together with their Assembly colleagues from both parties to avoid a stalemate in getting the state budget adopted. Both said a two-year budget might help and that automatic sunsets be established on some bills.

"I work for my constituents. I don't work for a political party," Wilson said.

Buchanan said: "I know how to reach agreement by compromising a point without compromising a principle."

Buchanan added that budget negotiations should begin in January, not mid-year.

Buchanan advocates changing the ballot initiative process because 93 percent of the state's $103 billion General Fund is controlled by initiatives.

Top donors to Joan Buchanan

$50,000 loan from Joan Buchanan
$21,600, Service Employees International Union Local 1000 - California School Employees Association Candidate PAC
$14,400, California Medical Association PAC, Sacramento
$14.400, California Teachers Association for Better Citizenship
$14,400, Cope California Federation of Teachers
$14,400, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California PAC
$14,400, IBEW Local Union No. 302
$14,400, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
$14,400, California League of Conservation Voters
$14,400, California Dental PAC
$14,400, Faculty for Our University's Future, sponsored by California Faculty Association
Total Jan. 1-Sept. 30: $965,491.75.

Top donors to Abram Wilson

$95,000, loan from Abram Wilson
$7,200, Shapell Homes, Milpitas
$5,000, West Coast Home Builders
$3,600, from several organizations ranging from Associated Contractors and Coca-Cola Enterprises Employees to the California Association of Health Facilities, Bank of America and California New Car Dealers Association.
Total Jan. 1-Sept. 30: $870,800.24.
Source: California Secretary of State Web site, www.sos.ca.gov

Wilson supports no new taxes, working with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to ensure that all gasoline taxes are spent on road projects including Highway 99 improvements, allowing workers to carry their health insurance between jobs and expanding community-based health clinics, local control of schools and the high school exit exam.

Wilson also advocates taking a hard line on crime and illegal immigrants. He opposes early releases from prison, wants to deport convicted illegal immigrants as soon as their sentences are completed and supports not allowing illegal immigrants a driver license or free college education.

Buchanan supports universal health care, a focus on prevention rather than acute care and administering health care through an independent state fund rather than the General Fund.

Buchanan strongly supports levee repairs to ensure that the Delta doesn't have a disaster similar to Hurricane Katrina.

Buchanan's endorsements include Galt Mayor Andrew Meredith and Councilman Tim Raboy, Galt Elementary Trustee Tina Skinner, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, State Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and Assembly speaker Karen Bass of Los Angeles.

Wilson's endorsements include Houston, former Galt City Councilmen Randy Shelton and Tom Malson and San Joaquin County Supervisors Leroy Ornellas and Larry Ruhstaller.

For more information, visit www.wilsonforassembly.com and joanbuchanan.com.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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